However, the company was too small to be able to compete with the
three big ones of Detroit and soon afterwards, because of the
difficulties the production of the Frazer was stopped.
In spite of this, in 1953,
Kaiser got the Willys Overland Motors Inc. which manufactured the
utilitarian vehicle ¨Jeep¨ and the Aero Willys, Ace and Lark cars.
So, the company was called Kaiser Motors Corp. The same year and
due to the increasing financial difficulties, the production of
the Henry J. is discontinued
Landing in Argentina
Henry J. Kaiser´s idea was to
be able to go on with his company in some other country, with less
industrial development, where he could get better results. In 1954
he is determined to stay in Argentina, after studying and visiting
different countries. In that moment, the total number of cars got
to 564,000 units being insufficient. The amount was of 33
inhabitants for each car, worse than that registered 25 years
before. The importation was restricted to 6,000 annual units and
the local incipient industry hardly produced 3,000 units, being
completely shortage to supply the demand. No doubt, this fact
carried weight Henry Kaiser when he made his decision.
The proposal done to the
Argentinian Government included the creation of a mixed society
making up by the State ruled company IAME, Kaiser Motors Corp. and
the contribution of private Argentinian groups, who would take
part through the purchase of shares by a total of 160 million
pesos. The State would also give the new society some credits of
200 million pesos and permissions of car importation of 40 million
The plan was approved by
national authorities and on January 18th, 1955 the respective
agreement was subscribed to. Some days later, Industrias Kaiser
Argentina S.A. was setting up, with a capital of 20 million
dollars, where the 32% was represented by machinery and tools
imported from the United States. Two months later, the facility,
where 9,000 tones of equipment were brought from the United
States, starts to be built in an area of 200 hectares situated in
Santa Isabel location, in Cordoba. At the same time, in the U.S.,
the main company was reorganized, stopped producing cars and
turning into Kaiser Industries Corp.
Its subsidiary, Willys Motors
Inc. started to be devoted exclusively to the production of the
Jeep. In 1954, the first Kaiser Manhattan is imported. This model
set up the base of the first Argentinian car: the Kaiser Carabela.
On 27th April 1956, the first
jeep comes out the assembly line in Santa Isabel. With its pick up
unit, 2,000 vehicles were produced this year. The production came
up to 7,000 units in 1957, when the Estanciera is launched to the
market, the national version of Willys Station Wagon of the
Next year, the luxurious
Kaiser Carabela makes its appearance. The IKA production gets to
20,000 annual units. In 1959 an agreement with the Regie Nationale
des Usines Renault is carried out in order to make Renault cars
under its licence.
Finally, in 1960 the Kaiser
Bergantin is introduced and the line of units with the Kaiser
Trade Mark is completed.
Ramblers are coming
In 1961, an agreement with
American Motors, allows IKA to produce the Rambler line which is
produced since January 1962. In this way, IKA, directed from its
beginning by the American James Mc Cloud, started to make the most
complete range of cars and utilitarian vehicles in Argentina,
comfortably leading the local market with a share of 30%. The
national components integration of the vehicles is about 90 %.
In 1966 the Torino is
presented and pretty soon becomes the most successful car of the
company and one of the hits of the Argentinian automotive
The next year, the Regie
Nationale des Usines Renault becomes the main important partner of
the society and it takes over the administrative directorship. It
changed its name by IKA-Renault S.A. The Renault units get more
than the 55% of the total production. Finally in 1975, Renault
buys the rest of the shares and the company finally becomes
Renault Argentina S.A.